24 hours after the largest rhetorical and diplomatic clash between Israel and Spain in recent decades, the jihadist group Hamas intervened to thank the words of the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez – and also of the Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo – against the massive Israeli military offensive launched in response to the terrorist attack on October 7. After learning of Hamas’ praise, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen wrote on the X network: “The congratulations of the terrorist organization Hamas to the prime ministers of Spain and Belgium are shameful and dishonorable”. “We will not forget who supports us in these times and who supports a murderous terrorist organization that is holding more than 200 hostages,” he reacted with the same harshness with which he did on Friday, after the speeches at the Egyptian border crossing in the Gaza Strip. , announced that he would summon the ambassadors of the two countries for a “reprimand.”

“We appreciate the clear and bold stance of the Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, who affirmed his rejection of the destruction of Gaza and the murder of civilians, and of the Spanish Pedro Sánchez who condemned the indiscriminate killings of the occupying State against civilians in the Strip” , Hamas had communicated, also praising Sánchez for raising “the possibility that his country unilaterally recognizes the Palestinian State, if the European Union does not take this step.” Sánchez had stated that “the time has come for the international community, especially for “for the EU to make a decision on the recognition of the Palestinian State. It would be worthwhile for many EU members to do it together, but if that does not happen, Spain will make its own decisions.” In this sense, while Sánchez supports the creation of a Palestinian State alongside Israel, Hamas, also recognized by the EU and the US as a terrorist group, asks that it be in place of Israel. But the general Israeli unrest – which goes far beyond the right led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – exploded because from his words it can be deduced that Sánchez accused Israel of intentionally and indiscriminately murdering civilians in the war against Hamas. Given that this is not the first time that Sánchez or someone in his government has accused Israel, the “problem” was also the timing and location of his words. On one of the most dramatic days in their country, Israelis were waiting on Friday afternoon for the first time since October 7 for the arrival of kidnapped children and elderly women. With their nerves on edge, they only saw Sánchez and De Croo at the Rafah border crossing. Their presence there was not understood among other reasons because they had nothing to do with the four-day truce agreement. His words against the Israeli offensive ended up translating the anger in the networks and media into Israel’s official reaction. Netanyahu criticized the statements of Sánchez and De Croo for “not holding Hamas fully responsible for its crimes against humanity and massacring of our citizens.” and uses the Palestinians as human shields. Cohen, who in a few weeks must be replaced by Israel Katz (rotation decided a year ago) called these words “support for terrorism” and summoned the Spanish ambassador, Ana Sálomon Pérez.

Surprised by the Israeli reaction, Spain recalled that Sánchez condemned the Hamas attacks in his intervention in Egypt and responded in the same way by summoning the Israeli ambassador Rodica Radian-Gordon. After “categorically” rejecting the accusations of his Israeli counterpart, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares defined them as “totally false, out of place and unacceptable.”

An event as dramatic as the war in Gaza has uncovered a latent political factor in relations between Israel and Spain in recent months. While Netanyahu formed his most right-wing government a year ago (qualified with the entry of Benny Gantz’s centrist party due to the war), Sánchez’s government coalition includes some clearly anti-Israel ministers and deputies. Among them two new ministers who did not condemn the Hamas attack on the European Parliament. The political clash, therefore, was inevitable beyond the excellent bilateral relations in numerous fields.